Celebrating Earth Day 2017: Environmental and Climate Literacy!
The Hunger Project celebrates Earth Day on April 22, 2017. Earth Day is a call to action for the global community to address climate change, foster a sustainable, healthy environment and protect our planet for future generations. This year, the Earth Day theme is “Environmental and Climate Literacy.”
Education is the key to progress. The effects of climate change are disproportionately felt by our poorest and most vulnerable populations. When they are empowered with knowledge, people can take action to defend their environment and promote sustainable solutions to climate change that benefit their communities for both the present and the future.
Protecting and restoring our natural environment is fundamental to ending hunger and poverty. In fact, research has shown that when people live in healthier environments, they lead healthier lives.
The Hunger Project supports communities in becoming more resilient to the pressures of environmental degradation, including soil erosion, water pollution and unreliable or catastrophic weather patterns that affect agriculture and food distribution. We work to raise awareness and empower rural communities through knowledge and training to adapt to climate change. We promote sustainable farming practices, engage communities with data to encourage land reforestation, ensure access to clean water and sanitation and more.
What We Do:
- Raise awareness of and build the capacity to adapt to climate change. The Hunger Project holds workshops to build our partners’ capacity to exercise leadership, take steps to increase their resilience and formulate strategies to mitigate climate change risks. At the regional and international levels, we also advocate for the conservation of natural resources, the mitigation of the harmful effects of extractive industries, and the recovery and promotion of traditional knowledge and technology that is highly adaptable to changing climate conditions. In 2015, for example, The Hunger Project-Mexico’s regional coordinator Margarita Ruiz Lopez, and our Peruvian partner Tarcila Rivera Zea, founder of Chirapaq, joined world leaders in discussing climate change in Paris at the historic COP21 Summit.
- Increase the use of renewable energy. Coki Epicenter’s Rural Bank in Senegal partnered with the National Agency of Eco-Villages (ANEV) and the Japanese International Cooperation on a program that promotes the use of biodigesters that convert waste into renewable energy. Biodigesters help reduce methane emissions and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere. In addition, in Mexico, a rainwater harvesting system—built and managed by our partners—collects water and does not require energy to operate.
- Promote sustainable farming practices. At our epicenters in Africa, Hunger Project partners create community farms, where villagers learn composting, intercropping and other methods, like drip irrigation, to improve crop yields, restore soil fertility and make the best use of scarce resources.
- Increase access to sustainable agriculture technology. The Hunger Project provides training and credit, mobilizing people to adopt sustainable agricultural technology and practices, and encourages communities to demand agricultural extension services from their government.
- Promote the use of clean air through “green stoves. The Hunger Project launched a “clean stoves” (or “green stoves”) project in four communities in the Mazateca region of Mexico with non-profit partner Water for Humans. These clean stoves are designed to remove smoke from the house, and use less wood. The communities were involved in the process of fundraising, planning and construction. Water for Humans trained local volunteer “promoters” on how to build and fix the clean stoves, keeping expertise and knowledge in the region.
- Facilitate reforestation and tree planting campaigns. Throughout our program countries, trained Hunger Project partners establish tree nurseries, which reforest their communities, control soil erosion, and create entrepreneurial village businesses, supplying families with fruit trees that not only capture carbon, but also provide nutrition and income. Across our epicenters in Africa, including Benin, Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda, The Hunger Project advocates for the use of the “miracle” Moringa tree, a drought-tolerant tree with leaves that are rich in vitamin and nutrients. With our community partners, we have distributed thousands of seedlings, and trained communities to cultivate the trees for both additional nutrition and supplemental income.
- Ensure access to clean water. Water project boards, made up of community leaders, are trained by experts to monitor, maintain and repair water systems. Community partners are trained to use and repair water pumps and generators, and a core group of local leaders lead workshops on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) throughout the community to expand grassroots knowledge and promote water safety practices. In Uganda, we’ve partnered with Siemens Stiftung and Sky Juice to launch the Safe Water Enterprise, a community-driven program that provides clean, filtered water for purchase at an affordable price to the community.
This Earth Day, The Hunger Project stands with billions of others around the world to celebrate our planet! Join us in advocating for a healthy, sustainable environment for the future.
What You Can do:
- Invest now in The Hunger Project to build resilient, environmentally friendly communities.
- Share our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about Earth Day.
- Engage in an Act of Green by planting a tree, hosting a teach-in or reducing your footprint. Learn more.
Facts and Figures:
- Some 129 million hectares of forest – an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa – have been lost since 1990.
- Around 900 million people, mostly in developing countries, depend on forests for their livelihood.
- 663 million people lack access to clean water.
- From 2003 to 2013, natural disasters in developing countries caused $500 billion in damages and affected 2 million people.
- Global emissions of carbon dioxide has increased by 50% since 1990!